Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Visit from McDavid Brings Out the Best in Crosby, Penguins

After a pair of blow-out losses, the Pens reminded everyone they still have the formula that earned them back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.



Embed from Getty Images

The latest Connor McDavid-Sidney Crosby showcase was appropriately hyped, and as it turned out the hype was justified. But at its core, Oilers-Penguins was still a hockey game.

And in the end the significant development wasn’t that the Penguins won in overtime on Tuesday night, it was that they were willing to pay the price.

Justin Schultz got concussed.

Kris Letang limped off after blocking a shot.

And afterward Ian Cole talked about the elbow to the face he’d absorbed as well as scoring a  goal.

“Right up under the chin,” the Pens’ defenseman specified. “Bleedin’ a little bit, still.”

It turned out to be that kind of game.

The challenge for the Penguins coming off a 7-1 shellacking last Saturday night at Tampa and with a 10-1 no-show on Oct. 5 at Chicago on their resume was to remind everyone, themselves included, that they were still willing and able to play such a game.

McDavid and Crosby both provided the anticipated highlights.

McDavid even scored a ridiculous goal.

And Matt Murray was at times spectacular in the Penguins’ net.

But what ultimately proved decisive was the Penguins’ determination to do the little things, to do the dirty work and to play the right way as head coach Mike Sullivan defines it rather than to allow themselves to be sucked into a high-octane, high-risk game.

It wasn’t quite a playoff atmosphere at PPG Paints Arena.

It can’t be that this early in a season.

But it wasn’t too early for the Penguins to re-establish an understanding of what works in playoff-type games against playoff-caliber opponents, and an appreciation of how patience and attention to detail must be applied before allowing their star power to eventually take over.

That’s been the formula the past two seasons.

Penguins 2, Oilers 1 confirmed the Penguins are still buying into it.

“You never want to try to out-score teams in this league,” Murray maintained. “Once you get into track meets, then it’s a crapshoot and any team can beat you.

“We worry about out-playing the other team first, and the goals will come.”

Cole insisted the Penguins remain as committed to playing it that way, and to paying the shot-blocking, slot-clearing, back-checking, net-crashing price required to outlast opponents as they’ve ever been.

“Absolutely,” he said. “If you want to win consistently in this league you have to be able to do the little things, not turning pucks over and keeping tight gaps and turning pucks over for your team and transitioning quickly and all those little things that don’t necessarily show up on the scoresheet but are huge momentum-swingers to get the game going in your favor.

“And yes, playing the game the right way is cliche, but that’s certainly what you want to do.”

The latest McDavid-Crosby showcase wound up showcasing the Penguins’ willingness to do so when necessary, from their captain on down.

“I thought his defensive play was on display,” Sullivan said of Crosby. “When he goes head-to-head with a guy like McDavid, I think it brings out the best in him at both ends of the rink.”

When Crosby’s at his best, the rest of the Penguins usually are, too.

Three weeks into their quest for a three-peat, that’s still as good as it needs to be.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

Kennywood has revealed its replacement ride for “The Log Jammer” which will be located in a new portion of the park entitled “Steelers Country.”

Restaurant Review: Poulet Bleu

Richard DeShantz steps it up with a move from Downtown to Lawrenceville and shows Pittsburgh how to make French dining fun.

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 Black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

Coming Clean: Why We Aren't a Green City ... Yet

Pittsburgh is no longer a smoky city, but that doesn’t mean it has cleaned up its act. Pittsburgh's air quality still ranks among the worst in the nation. What steps are being taken to reduce Pittsburgh's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels?

Ultimate Comfort Food: The Joy of Dumplings

Why our dining critic thinks dumplings might be his ultimate comfort food.

Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.

The Tailor's Dumpling: Kreplach

A Pittsburgh chef and his family continue to craft a family recipe with roots in Poland.

The Pittsburgh Region's Top Dentists 2018

Our annual list, which contains 376 dentists across 11 specialities, as determined by topDENTISTS.

A Weekend Mission of Mercy in Pittsburgh

More than a thousand people come to PPG paints arena once a year for free dental care, thanks to an ambitious, all-volunteer effort.

Jump Into the River: Open Waters Beckons Strong Swimmers

It takes a strong swimmer and the right timing to dive into the three rivers. for those up to it, the difference between the pool and open water is profound.

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.

National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

It's time to add the National Aviary to the list of local favorites you visit again and again.

PM on KD: Family City Guide 2018

PM Associate Editor Sean Collier appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss our Family City Guide for 2018-2019.

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

One of the stars of FX's “The Americans” is reportedly in talks to appear in the Mister Rogers flick “You Are My Friend.”

Competitive, High-Tech Driving Range Coming to Pittsburgh

The Topgolf complex opening in Bridgeville features a driving range with microchipped golf balls that score themselves, plus plenty of food and drink options.